Eleven former directors of VOA issued a joint statement this month calling on Congress “to reverse a Bush administration plan to substantially reduce VOA’s English broadcasts and those in 15 other languages.”
The directors say the publicly funded civilian overseas broadcasting network may go silent in many areas on radio this year unless Congress reverses the action in the federal budget for the next fiscal year. It noted that the cuts include the shutdown on radio of VOA’s worldwide English service.
“The former Voice directors joining in the appeal to reverse the cuts have served at various times during the past half a century under both Republican and Democratic administrations,” the group stated.
Signing the statement were Mary G. F. Bitterman, Robert E. Button, Richard W. Carlson, Geoffrey Cowan, John Hughes, David Jackson, Henry Loomis, E. Eugene Pell, Robert Reilly, R. Peter Straus, and Sanford J. Ungar.
They say the cuts would jeopardize national security and public diplomacy and “deprive millions of people of access to a fully free and open media, a core value of what our nation is all about.” They pushed for an increase of the proposed $178 million VOA budget to $204 million for fiscal 2008.